Those of you who have ever wondered if fostering is a good choice for you, the first thing you do is have a chat with the social workers. The chat will begin with a phone call and it will not be one chat but a couple of chats. In your chat, you get as much information as you like and you can ask as many questions as you want to. You do not need any qualification for fostering but there will be specific criteria you will have to meet.
First and foremost, you need to have an extra, empty bedroom inside your home and you should be in good physical and mental health. In addition, you should not have any history of bankruptcy or have any criminal convictions as well. Once this criterion has been met, there will be a meeting with a social worker who will come around to your house for a detailed chat. This is when you ask all the questions and understand the next step of the process.
At the next step, there will a form you will be required to fill. Once you submit the form, there will be training for prospective carers. During the training, you will be able to discuss the responsibility of foster carers and understand the reason behind children ending up in fostering. You will know how foster carers can help children and how you can work together with the children for their wellbeing. The training is organized over a period of three days with no test or exams. You will not need to take any notes either. There will be a number of group discussions where you will get a chance to speak to the foster carer.
After the end of the training, there will be verification. Everyone in the house above the age of 16 will need to get an Enhanced Disclosure which is a prerequisite for those who work with children. You will also have to seek an appointment with a general medical practitioner for your medical examination. Once this is done, the social worker will speak to references. The references could be family, friends, and colleagues. They will speak to your partners or adult children who lived with you in the past. This is an important step in fostering and will help the social worker decide whether you are suitable to be a foster carer or not.
Before you start fostering, you will have to have many more chats with the social worker who will always be your main source of contact. Whenever you have any questions, feel free to contact the social worker at any point of time. You can share your experiences as a child in the school and with young people. This will help understand your present situation and your hopes for the future. Remember that it is a 2 way process and there is nothing right or wrong about it. You only need to be honest and ask as many questions as you want to. For many carers, this chat has become an ideal way of reflecting on their life.
Review by independent panel
Once this step is complete, the social worker will write a detailed report based on the information collected from you and through the discussion. The report submission will be to an independent panel that will review recommend you as a foster carer. You should make note of these tips on how to become a foster parent before you make an application. You need to remember that the social workers are happy to help you at all stages and they only want you to succeed.
The Fostering process
The process might be rigorous but it will help you decide whether fostering is a good option for you or not. It is one of the most rewarding jobs you can take up. The independent panel will meet the social worker to discuss the report and then you will be invited for the panel. The panel will have a minimum of five people that will decide and let you know their recommendation. After the panel recommends you, they will start the matching process based on which you will have an opportunity to change the life of a child.
The process can take about 4 to 6 weeks and there are certain steps which could take longer. It is important for your to cooperate with the social workers and have patience throughout the procedure.